I had just broken up with the only girl I had ever dated, Delores Jean. She was my pen pal while I was in the military when I was 16 years old. She was very upset with me for reenlisting in the Air Force when I could not find work around Jenkins. I was now 17 years old, and would leave in a couple of days for Langley Field, Va.
My half-brother, Erman Short, who had joined the Army before World War II started, was now home. I knew very little about him. He and his new girlfriend wanted to take me to a nightclub in Pound, Va., for us to celebrate me going back into the military.
I’d never been to a nightclub in my life. Anyway, we went to the club on the side of the mountain before you get to Pound. I did not drink or dance.
Erman was drinking a lot. He was a very good dancer, and was dancing with most of the girls there. His girlfriend was upset with him and they were quarreling.
I was fed up with all this going on, but he had transportation, and I had none. I left and hitched a ride back to Cane Branch, and would walk the last mile to my parents’ home.
Here came Erman, tooting his horn at me. He was all over the road. I knew he was drunk, and he wanted to fight me. In Cane Branch, the creek ran in the middle of the road. Every punch he threw I’d duck out of the way, and he fell in the creek. Now he’s mad, and he got up and came after me. I hit him once between his eyes, and he fell into the creek. I went on home.
Around noon the next day, my dad and I were in the backyard shooting my dad’s rifle. Here come Erman and his girlfriend. Both of his eyes were black.
He said, “Everett, you’re not going to shoot me are you?”
Mom came out of the house and asked, “What happened to you, honey?” Erman said, “Ask Everett. He beat me up last night” We got along great after that night.
Twenty some years later, after he went back into the Army and retired, he came to my quarters on base at Travis Air Force Base in California, looking for a job. I made a phone call to the base bowling alley to a friend who ran it and got him a job where he worked for many years.
He would later come back to Jenkins and get a job in the coal mines. He is buried at Payne Gap, near my two brothers and my parents.
Erman was in World War II, Korea and Viet Nam.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)